It was a cold, dark and snowy evening, and as I was driving along Park Ave I was thinking to myself that I just wanted to go home. But in the darkness shone twinkly lights, calling out to me and beckoning me in. As I entered, I was greeted with warmth, and was glad that I finally made it out here. Yes, after two years in Rochester, I finally made it to Apogee and I will definitely be back.
Apogee Wine Bar was opened in 2014 by Simone Boone, a Rochester native who wanted to share her love of wine with the local community and provide a cozy space to do it.
The goal isn’t just to create a space to drink, it’s a space to relax, explore and enjoy wine, and the menu reflects that. The wine list doesn’t have your typical California Cabs and New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, it has varietals you’ve probably never heard of from regions that you didn’t know were producing wine.
But don’t feel overwhelmed! The staff is highly trained and is ready to find a wine to fit your taste; just tell them what you normally enjoy and they will find a fun replacement from their list. We got fantastic suggestions from general manager Stephen Keller while we were there.
They don’t offer flights, but they do have options by the glass or by the bottle, and there is a small food list that includes cheese and charcuterie, olives, chocolate or cake slices. We got some Manchego and aged Gouda, and a dish of olives, all of which was delicious!
Tasting at Apogee
Over the course of our happy hour, I had two tastes of wine and one glass, as well as a cheese plate and olives.
My first sample was of the Bodega Garzón Tannat from Uruguay. First off, the color was amazing- dark deep purple. The wine has a nose of dark cherries and plum, hints of prune, and peppery spices. It has a full body and chewy tannin that is balanced by a hit of berry acidity.
For my full glass, I asked Stephen to surprise me, and I got the Antoine Ogier Cotes du Rhone, which is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mouvedre. It has a nose of dark berries, baking spice like cinnamon and some barnyard or forest floor notes. It is lighter than the Tannat on the palate, and has a silky tannin that leaves you wanting another sip.
Finally, we ended with a taste of the Boschendal Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé from South Africa. It was super aromatic with a floral, strawberry, and stonefruit nose. On the palate it has a medium body, perfect for winter sipping, that is balanced by a mild fruity acidity.
Finger Lakes Wine: They only had one option, a Red Newt Cellars Semi-Dry Riesling. This is a little disappointing since it’s perpetuating the stereotype that the Finger Lakes makes only sweeter Rieslings. Hopefully with the new menu they’ll change up their FLX offering and have something a little more interesting.
Price Range: $8-11 for a glass
Wine Knowledge: The manager, Stephen, is incredibly knowledgable and passionate about wine. While I was waiting for my friends to arrive, we had a great conversation, and he did a fabulous job suggesting wines for us that we would enjoy.
Overall, it was an amazing evening and I’ll definitely be back, especially when the new menu is released. While I wish there was a couple interesting Finger Lakes options, it was nice to see a broad range of wines from other regions like South Africa and Uruguay, and some interesting varietals like Tannat and Torrontés.